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Majority Of Coloradans Favor Banning Assault Weapons, High-Capacity Magazines: Two New Polls Show

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A row of different AR-15 style rifles are displayed for sale at the Firing-Line indoor range and gun shop, Thursday, July 26, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. The Friday, July 20, 2012 massacre inside a crowded Colorado movie theater has prompted a sudden increase in gun sales and firearms training. Police said suspect James Holmes donned body armor and was armed with an AR-15 rifle, a shotgun and handguns during the attack. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A row of different AR-15 style rifles are displayed for sale at the Firing-Line indoor range and gun shop, Thursday, July 26, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. The Friday, July 20, 2012 massacre inside a crowded Colorado movie theater has prompted a sudden increase in gun sales and firearms training. Police said suspect James Holmes donned body armor and was armed with an AR-15 rifle, a shotgun and handguns during the attack. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

From The Colorado Independent's Scot Kersgaard.

Poll results released late Wednesday by Public Policy Polling reported Colorado voters favor banning assault weapons, with 58 percent supporting a ban and 35 percent opposing. Those survey results are supported by results released the same day by Quinnipiac University, The New York Times and CBS, which reported that 58 percent of likely Colorado voters also favor a national ban on high-capacity clips and magazines.

“That is great news,” said State Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver. “The poll results give me more confidence that Colorado voters don’t think assault weapons need to be available to people other than police officers or those in the military.

“There is really no use for these weapons other than to kill as many people as possible, so I am very pleased. This is encouraging,” she said about the results from the PPP poll.

McCann previously told The Colorado Independent she may introduce legislation regulating assault weapons and ammunition in the next session of the Colorado Legislature.

The New York Times poll also asked whether people generally favor stricter gun laws, and on that question 38 percent of Colorado voters favored stricter laws, while 50 percent said the laws should remain the same.

Asked to explain why people would say they do not favor stricter gun laws but then say they do favor banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines, PPP polling analyst Jim Williams told The Colorado Independent that, as in all polling, it comes down to how the questions are drafted.

“If you ask a really broad question like ‘Do you think gun laws should be more restrictive?’ people think of the worst case scenario, where people’s hunting rifles would be taken away. But if you ask a more precise question, such as one dealing with assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, then they think more critically,” he said.

Kristen Rand, legislative director at the Violence Policy Center, said asking general questions about gun laws is “worthless.”

“Most people don’t know what our gun laws are. Most people think we’ve already banned assault weapons. When they find out that semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines are legal, they are astounded. These polls show strong support for banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” she said by phone.

“Given the fact that the gun debate in this country is controlled by the gun lobby, it is interesting that people still come to the conclusion that we should ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” she said.

Congressman Ed Perlmutter’s campaign spokesperson told the Independent that the congressman continues to support both The Second Amendment right to bear arms and bans on assault weapons.

“Ed supports the Second Amendment, and he supports the reinstatement of the Assault Weapons ban,” wrote Communications Director Leslie Oliver in an email. “It is time for Congress to get serious about sensible crime control measures.”

According to the PPP poll, Colorado Democrats support reinstating the assault weapon ban 84-12, and unaffiliated voters support the ban 52-41. Republicans opposed an assault weapons ban 53-38.

In other PPP results, Coloradans support Amendment 64 to legalize marijuana 47-38, and they support civil unions by 57-37.

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